At times, the Packer’s preseason has provided beacons of hope for the Green Bay faithful. At other times, cause for concern. Preseason games often are camouflaged in basic defensive strategies that give offenses more success than they will produce in the regular season, but for new quarterbacks the preseason is still a litmus test. Jordan Love had no preseason in his rookie year.
In 2023, he played in every preseason game. In each game he showed the tools quarterbacks need to lead NFL offenses to the end zone. Now, we all know that this preseason will be ancient history in January and that succeed or fail, only the regular season will matter going forward.
What the preseason does is present opportunities for 2023 draft picks and undrafted free agents. Luckily for the Packers, they have seen excellent performances from a number of rookies. The Packers were universally panned by NFL draft pundits for drafting Sean Clifford in the 5th round.
Clifford has impressed, outplaying first round rookie QB’s and cementing his status as the backup quarterback for the Packers. Malik Heath has been a pass catching sensation, reminding many of, dare I say it, Donald Driver. Speaking of another 7th round pick, Carrington Valentine has shown he has talent above his pay grade and both defensive linemen, Colby Wooden and Carl Brooks, have made more plays than last year’s first round pick, Devonte Wyatt, made in last year’s preseason.
The rookie draft pick pass catchers have also shown promise. From second round pick Like Musgrave to 3rd round pick Jayden Reed, to last year’s rookies Doubs and Watson, pass catchers have made plays which will make final roster decisions difficult. Even the running back room has shined, with Patrick Taylor being pushed by Emanuel Wilson.
Against New England the offensive line protected well.
Zack Tom and Rasheed Walker are quietly providing confidence at tackle. If only center Josh Meyers could step up his game. Hopefully, more time with Love under center will reduce his preseason turnovers.
The first team defense has not been tested yet and first round pick Lucas Van Ness has not jumped off the tape. A big role is available for Kingsley Enagbare and the Packer defense will need him and Rasul Douglas to consistently make plays until Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes can return and play at a high level.
The final analysis has the Packers with a few questions that have not been answered this preseason, but talent has been on display and opportunities have been taken advantage of by a deep roster with talent. Now, the real test awaits.